Monday, Along the Boardwalk

Needing a moment to collect my thoughts yesterday, I opted for a quick walk along the boardwalk. Seems several other critters had the same idea.

A doe was enjoying the tender new shoots of a smilax. They are a tasty treat. I snagged a few myself along the way.

A green snake was catching some rays. It found a nice comfortable cypress knee in the sun...

at least until I disturbed it and it moved on.

Several Lace-winged Roadside Skippers were out and about. All of them too busy to pose for a close-up though.


Leaves of Three?

Sure, if it's got leaves of three let it be. But how about this:

While #2 son, Flamebrain, was home this weekend he spied this unusual specimen of poison ivy growing in the yard. His comment was something like, what is this five-leaved stuff that looks remarkably like poison ivy? Well, it was poison ivy as evidenced by leaves lower down on the plant.

Sneaky stuff, poison ivy. Flamebrain and Treebeard both have spectacular reactions to contact with Toxicodendron radicans, making them hyper observant and attuned to its presence. I'm not sure I would have noticed this particular variation.


Gustatory Delights

Our younger son, known on this blog as Flamebrain, is home for the weekend. He arrived bearing gifts. Along with an assortment of stouts and ales that we can't procure locally, he brought us a sampling of his home-brewed ciders and sodas. We sampled an apple-cherry cider last night with dinner. Quite tasty.

In addition to the brews, he brought a variety of gingery treats for his mom and chocolate and coconut confections for his dad. And, being our son, he brought something just a little different for us to try: boiled silkworms. Nothing says love to a parent like a can of boiled silkworms ;)

As you can see, there are no English instructions on the can. So exactly how does one eat a boiled silkworm? Off to the internets to find out.
According to several sources, the bugs are "perfectly safe" to eat directly from the can.
Being an intrepid soul when it comes to eating, I immediately plucked one of the little suckers out of the soup and popped it in my mouth. Smelled sort of funky, but it tasted pretty good.
Flamebrain and Treebread each tried one. The consensus was that they were okay but would be better if they had a little crunch to them.
I spread them out on a baking dish and popped them into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
A plate of roasted silkworms with just a splash of apple cider vinegar. I ate the majority of the little bugs. Flamebrain and Treebeard ate a few, but they didn't care for the smell.

***What I learned about boiled silkworms:
To obtain silk for making cloth, the cocoon must be intact. This means that the critter inside must be dispatched before it completes its metamorphosis. Said dispatching is accomplished by dropping the cocoons into boiling water. It takes a bunch of cocoons to get enough silk to make cloth, so one ends up with loads of pupae. What to do with all those bugs?? Eat them, of course! They are inexpensive and high in protein -- what's not to love? You can eat them boiled, fried, or roasted. Try one sometime.


Almost a Speed Bump

Yesterday I went into work early to meet with a researcher and help him get set up to study some beetles. To avoid building up any more comp time I took an hour and a half off in the middle of the day. So, what did I do with my time? I went biking on our trails. Even though I changed into a tee-shirt to disguise myself, I was still recognized as a ranger and found myself answering the questions of other bikers and hikers. Seems rangering is not a job, it's a lifestyle ;-)

While I was pedaling along I saw a piece of grass making its way across the trail...brakes squealing, I came to a stop before reducing this fine little rough green snake to speed bump status.


Just Some Stuff

Saturday was a nasty day here in the swamp, but overall we were lucky. No tornadoes struck us and no hail fell. We just experienced high winds and heavy downpours. Many places were not so fortunate. A couple of counties over eleven people died when a tornado tore through, reducing houses to splinters.

Following all the destruction on Saturday, Sunday dawned clear and absolutely beautiful.

Peaceful pond...
Birds singing in the trees...
Dragonflies hunting in the sun...
Coral honeysuckle blooming...

Mother Nature is fickle at times.


A Recent Walk

High winds have been a constant thing of late so I have been doing a lot of trail walking to be sure no trees are blocking the path. The upside of that is being able to be outside more.

There have been large numbers of harlequin darners flying recently. The tree that hosted this particularly cooperative darner held seven others. They were all in their typical perching mode, soaking up the sunshine. This one is a female as evidenced by the amber wash on her wings.

The pawpaws are starting to leaf out. That should make the zebra swallowtail butterflies happy. Pawpaw is the host plant for that species.

I've mentioned before on this blog that I love snails. Those cute little faces get me every time ;)

I have a few more images to share but I'm still having photo issues. Perhaps I can hammer them out later today...


Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Slowly Making Its Way

It's been quite the slow spring this year. Things are finally starting to green up though...

The pawpaws got a little burned by a recent frost. The green flowers are just opening. As they mature, the flowers turn a deep brown-burgundy color.

I love the green of new leaves against a blue sky.


Odes Are Flying

A couple of dragonflies posed for the camera...

Harlequin Darner

Blue Corporal



Dead in the Water

For the past few days Blogger has refused to post my photos. They seem to load, I see them in the preview, and then they disappear. Anyone have any notion what I'm doing wrong? I've never had this particular issue before.